There is a certain societal standard of how older women should dress and behave in public. She is to choose a simpler life, giving up on her vanity and her pleasures, devoted to her family and grandchildren. But with 69-year-old Rajini Chandy, it is quite different.
Rajini Chandy, a home-maker turned actress, isn’t your average grandmother. She is physically fit, bold, beautiful, and fashionable. She doesn’t mind putting on red lipstick and a pair of jeans to model for a photoshoot!
According to BBC, she recently did a photoshoot with a 29-year-old photographer Athira Joy. She wore a denim dress, jeans with a denim jacket, and a dress with a floral tiara and looked gorgeous in all her photographs.
As the pictures were uploaded on social media, she began getting trolled for dressing up in a modern way at her age. While there were many who called her “bold”, “stunning”, “hot”, and “beautiful”, there were people who left comments like “Haven’t you died yet?”
“I was called a slut. Someone asked me, ‘Haven’t you died yet?’ Another suggested that I ‘sit at home and read the Bible. This is your age to pray, not show off your body’. Yet another person said I was an old auto-rickshaw and even if I got a new coat of paint, I’d still be old,” she said.
Rajini noticed that much of the hate was coming from women, perhaps even more than men.
“A lot of young men find sexiness in older women disturbing, they don’t want to think of them as an object of desire. But what I found surprising was that most of the negative comments were made by women.”
She goes on to add, “I think it’s born out of jealousy – women in their 40s and 50s who don’t take care of themselves cannot deal with an older woman still being able to flaunt her good looks.”
The photographer, Athira Joy, perfectly summed up what a 60-something woman was supposed to look like.
“Indian women spend their lives caged in this system of marriage and raising a family. Most give up on life once they reach 60. They become nannies to their grandchildren. But Rajini is different – she takes care of herself, she’s fit, she’s bold, she’s beautiful, she’s fashionable. She’s 69, but in her mind, she’s 29, just like me.”
Rajini Chandy spent decades living in Mumbai. But when she came to Kerala in 1995, she did turn some heads. She went outdoors wearing jeans and lipstick and attracted stares. Once, she was reprimanded for wearing a sleeveless blouse!
“I’ve fulfilled all my family and social obligations and now I’m just doing what brings me pleasure. I’m learning to play the drum, I’m not aiming for perfection, I’m just having fun.”
Just because you’ve aged doesn’t mean you have to give up on the things that make you feel good. May Rajini’s choices be an example for those who think too much of “Log kya kahenge?”